Eye protection is essential PPE


Most are aware that Florida municipalities are not subject to the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and that there has not been state oversight since the early 1990s.  Nonetheless, OSHA standards are still considered Best Practices. The following is the OSHA standard as it applies to eye protection:

The employer shall ensure that each affected employee uses appropriate eye or face protection when exposed to eye or face hazards from flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors, or potentially injurious light radiation.

Public entities should conduct a job hazard analysis to determine if a particular job would require eye protection.  Generally speaking, eye protection is required when the following exposure exists:

  • Projectiles (dust, concrete, metal, wood and other particles)
  • Chemicals (splashes and fumes)
  • Radiation (especially visible light, ultraviolet radiation, heat or infrared radiation, and lasers)
  • Bloodborne pathogens (hepatitis or HIV) from blood and body fluids

Some examples of job functions in the Public Sector that require eye protection include, but are not limited to:  Water and Wastewater, Public Works, Parks and Recreation, Police and Fire. Clerical and administration often use computers and can experience digital eye strain.  Digital eye strain describes a group of eye and vision related problems that result from prolonged computer, tablet and cell phone use. The average American worker spends seven hours a day on the computer either in the office or working from home.

Types of safety eye protection

The type of safety eye protection you should wear depends on the hazards in your workplace:

  • If you are working in an area that has particles, flying objects or dust, you must at least wear safety glasses with side protection (side shields).
  • If you are working with chemicals, you must wear goggles.
  • If you are working near hazardous radiation (welding, lasers or fiber optics) you must use special-purpose safety glasses, goggles, face shields or helmets designed for that task.

How to protect your eyes

There are four things you can do to protect your eyes from injury:

  1. Know the eye safety dangers at your work.
  2. Eliminate hazards before starting work by using machine guards, work screens or other engineering controls.
  3. Use proper eye protection.
  4. Keep your safety eyewear in good condition and have it replaced if it becomes damaged.

Vision is our most precious of senses. Protecting eyes and vision in the workplace is extremely important. Using the proper protective eyewear can help keep you safe from any type of eye hazard on the job. If you sustain an eye-related injury on the job, or if you have pain in the eye, blurred vision or loss of any vision, immediate attention is extremely important. Prompt medical attention could help reduce damage or even save your eyesight. 

For more information on eye protection please contact your Preferred Loss Control Consultant or visit the OSHA website at Eye and Face Protection – Overview | OSHA.